Education policy: Continuity or change?

By Christian BlockLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

For ten years Claude Meisch (DP) has set the direction of education policy. How are the parties positioning themselves in the run-up to the parliamentary elections? A foray through the programmes reveals partly vague and clientelistic promises and side-swipes against the minister's political style.

Over ten years, Claude Meisch, Minister of Education, Childhood and Youth, has rebuilt the behemoth that is education policy. The liberal politician has not ruled out the possibility of continuing the portfolio when he told Radio 100,7 colleagues at the end of July that he was still motivated and had ideas. However, the socialist coalition partner has also laid claim to the portfolio, in the person of the education spokesperson and party co-president of the LSAP, Francine Closener. Or will things turn out quite differently entirely after the parliamentary elections?

A foray in five topics through the programmes of the parties that will face the voters – partly depending on the constituency – in the election in twelve days.

Public international schools: Alignment tendencies

They have shaped the image of the Luxembourg school landscape in recent years. Six public schools now offer the European primary and secondary school programme, while the international secondary school diploma (bac international) is on the programme of three lycées.

For the DP, there is no question of further expanding the range of international schools. Other locations for public European schools are Esch/Schifflange and Dudelange. It also sees a need for a second agreed European school in the "greater Luxembourg City area" – after the Gaston Thorn School opened its doors only a year ago.

Other parties take a much more nuanced view of the Liberals' plans – even if that does not rule out compatibilities. déi gréng, LSAP and the Pirate Party say what some observers see as inevitable: the convergence of the two school models in order to, as déi gréng put it, "avoid a two-class educational landscape and combine the positive approaches of both models". The parties are thus picking up on an aspect that the National Observatory for Childhood, Youth and School Quality (OEJQS) had warned against: the fear of a fragmentation of the educational landscape and an associated social division. The desire to respond to the individual needs of pupils through diversification of schooling "must not promote the risk of segregation between families with a high level of education and the most disadvantaged families", nor be an excuse for policy makers to shy away from substantial reforms in the regular public school system.

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